Catfish Cafe (Thomas Black Mysteries)

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9780345422026: Catfish Cafe (Thomas Black Mysteries)

"What in hell drove Balinda to a night like this?" Everyone who knew Balinda could have told Seattle private eye Thomas Black that the ex-choir girl thumbed a ride with the devil a long time ago. But not even Luther Little, Balinda's father and Black's former partner, expected the pretty young woman to simply vanish off the face of the earth.

Even stranger than Balinda's disappearance is what she left in her wake: an empty purse, a wrecked car, and a dead Eagle Scout in the backseat pumped four times in the stomach with an automatic. What's more, Balinda never even gave notice at her last job--a cozy little backwater diner where a freezer might keep more than crawdads on ice.

It isn't until Balinda's driver is identified that Thomas and Luther suspect trouble. For it turns out that the victim was a fifth-grade Tacoma schoolteacher with an impeccable reputation. But tracking the past of a white-bread teacher is more hazardous than it sounds. Especially when it leads Thomas and Luther back to that modest little eat-in/take-out . . . called Catfish Café.

You can get anything you want at Catfish Café. But watch out. Some of it bites back.

Serving up nothing less than a wickedly devious plot, clever, textured prose, and a classic combination of intrigue and wit, Catfish Café solidifies Emerson's reputation as a master of hard-boiled suspense.

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Review:

Former firefighter Earl W. Emerson writes two very interesting mystery series: one about small-town Washington State fire chief Mac Fontana and another about Seattle private investigator Thomas Black. All of Emerson's stories are haunted by ghosts from his characters' pasts, and none more so than this latest, where Emerson sends Black on a long, tangled, and not always obvious search through the roots of the African American family of his former police partner, Luther Little. Little's daughter has disappeared, leaving behind a car full of bullet holes, a dead young white man, and nine birth certificates that raise lots of troubling questions about fraud and parental responsibility. As Black grapples with ancient crimes and current human failure, his sharp and sexy lawyer wife, Kathy Birchfield, is--as always--on hand to keep him focussed. Other Thomas Black books in paperback: Deception Pass, The Million-Dollar Tattoo, Nervous Laughter. --Dick Adler

From the Publisher:

Earl Emerson's acclaimed series about Seattle private investigator Thomas Black is much beloved by readers and critics. And with justification. (These novels, running the gamut from THE RAINY CITY to the just-issued CATFISH CAF, are among my all-time favorite detective tales, and I'm not just saying that because I'm Earl's editor.) But I don't know any other crime novelist who amasses such fervent praise from his peers. It would be a crime to call Earl Emerson merely a "writer's writer." But there sure are a lot of talented authors who revere him. To wit . . .

Aaron Elkins: "In every book he tries something new, and he always comes up a winner. In the best tradition of American crime fiction, Emerson is a master of witty dialogue; clever, complex plotting; and lucid, meaty prose."

Robert Crais: "Earl Emerson writes with the richness and grace of a poet, evincing a quality of phrase and nuance that elevates the genre."

Ann Rule: "Earl Emerson and Thomas Black only get better and better! Earl Emerson has taken his place in the rarefied air of the best of the best!"

'Nuff said.

--Joe Blades, Associate Publisher

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